THE INDEPENDENCE OF THE JUDICIAL POWERS TEN YEARS AFTER THE REFORM IN MEXICO*
José Antonio CABALLERO JUÁREZ**
Original Text (Spanish) PDF
I. Introduction. II. External independence. III. Internal independence. IV. Transparency and accountability. V. Conclusions. VI. Sources.
Since the end of 1994 the judicial powers in Mexico have been involved in a very generalized dynamic of change.1 The modification has had an impact on several areas of the justice administration. This way, many tribunals have received significant budget rises. The mechanisms to designate magistrates have changed. Important efforts are oriented to strengthen the judicial career. The training activities of judges are in full expansion. In general terms, many actions have been implemented and the areas they have affected are also quite extensive. However, after ten days years of the beginning of the process of reforms in the administration of justice, we shall inquire about the conditions in which the judicial powers of the country are actually found, and the challenges they shall face in the near future.2
In the present work I will focus in the way the processes of reform have had an impact on the construction of the independence of the judicial powers in the country. In order to accomplish this task, I will follow the classical pattern of analysis making a distinction between external independence and internal independence. The first one refers to the institutional independence of the judicial powers with respect to other political powers, and with other groups in the society. With respect to the internal independence, it covers all the conditions that assure that the judge solves the issues turned to him with full freedom. That is, it is a matter of independence as a mechanism oriented to the construction of impartiality.3 The study of the Judicial Power’s independence concludes with the analysis of a necessary consequence of its existence, which is the issue of transparency and accountability. In this sense, the construction of a judicial independence without generating progress in transparency and accountability may end up producing incomes as pernicious as the lack of independence. In the final section of this work I present some reflections that attempt to contribute to the discussion about the pending agenda regarding judicial independence.
II. EXTERNAL INDEPENDENCE
In the last years the problems of three local judicial powers have been specially covered by the mass media. I first mention the case of Quintana Roo, where the state’s government presented a project of modifications to the organic law of the Judicial Power that raised many questionings by the Judicial Power and the parliamentary minority.4 In the second place, there is the case of Baja California, where several former magistrates have presented defenses± against their destitution. The state’s legislature has started political proceedings against some of them.5 The third case is the state of Yucatan, where there is a struggle between the three powers of the state because of the questionings made to a guilty verdict in criminal matters.6 The conflict between Yucatan’s powers has reached the Court in several ways.7 A previous case that stands out for its seriousness is that of the Judicial Power of the state of Chiapas. In the year 2000, when the new governor reached the power, the conflict with the Judicial Power reached the extremes when the state police force irrupted into the Judicial Power’s building. This time, the magistrates sheltered in the state’s Congress.8
Obviously, the previous cases represent extreme situations. However, their existence reflects the presence of an important problematic to the independence of justice in Mexico.9 Although this type of conflict cannot be analyzed in a general way, it is possible to identify some of the common elements. The main is, undoubtedly, the crisis of the secular tendency in which the states’ governors typically had an open intervention in the integration and government of the judicial powers. Indeed, the states’ governors generally assumed that the composition of the superior tribunal of justice was part of their powers. In fact, the legislation seemed to support this costume with figures such as the "judicial six-year-period".10 The gradual transformation of this scenery with the formation of more independent judicial powers has been a reason of tension between the states’ powers.
Nonetheless, it is necessary to acknowledge that important progress has been accomplished in other entities. In very general terms, the experience of the judicial powers of the country in this matter can be classified into two big groups. The first one refers to those judicial powers where the traditional subordination of magistrates with respect to the Executive Power begins to fade and the institutional independence is going through a consolidation process. In the second group we find the judicial powers where favorable changes have taken place, but that have presented significant drawbacks subsequently. Finally, the third group refers to those judicatures where minor changes have taken place.
In the judicial powers corresponding the first group, the situation reveals principally the existence of legislative modifications oriented to limit the connection of the governors with the process of designation of magistrates. Indeed, the success of this process is closely related to the governors’ political will to reduce their influence over the tribunals. Likewise, such political will has been maintained in the successive governments. Despite this, it is necessary to recognize that the independence of some judicial powers still seems to be weak.11
The situation of the judicial institutions corresponding the second group reflects a quite frustrating panorama. In these cases there have been reforms oriented to strengthen the institutional independence of the judicatures, but the outcome has not been the expected ones. In certain states, the situation shows drawbacks because of the arrival of a new government. In other cases, the processes of designation of magistrates have been excessively politicized in the legislatures of the states, and the outcomes seem to reveal more an imposition of the parties than an exercise oriented to look for the best judicial officers.12 Moreover, there are states where the governments have decided to present counter-reforms aiming to revert the positive effects that might have been generated during a first stage of legislative modifications.
In the third case are the tribunals where the changes have been minor. However, even in these cases certain magistrates have been prone to resist the imposition of decisions from the governors or the legislatures. Specifically, the responsible ones are those against those practices that demand the renunciation of all the magistrates when a new government arrives, so that the governor is free to designate the new magistrates. The ones that have opposed with most success have turned to the federal Judicial Power to request a revision of their destitution processes. In many cases, the defenses have been successful. In other cases, the problem has reached the legislatures of the states where political proceedings have been started against the magistrates that refuse to renounce. Also in these cases we find those who have set into question such proceedings through the presentation of appeals before the federal Judicial Power.13
On the other hand, an aspect that continues raising many discussions in the judicial ambit is that which refers to the budget’s approval. Many judicial officers state that the negotiation of the budget that shall be appointed to the Judicial Power in each fiscal exercise makes them feel unease.14 About this issue, some propose the establishment of constitutional mechanisms that assure the arrival of recourses to the Judicial Power.15 Until now these proposals have been welcomed with many reserves. Normally, the judicial powers are prone to negotiate. In other cases, the negotiations have been successful.16 However, in other cases, the judicial powers are submitted to pressures both from the Executive and Legislative Powers. In only one case the integration of a Judicial Power’s budget has been debated through a constitutional controversy: the Judicial Power of the state of Jalisco.17 Although the beginning of a constitutional litigation to establish the budget of a Judicial Power may represent an extreme scenario, I consider necessary to revise the perspectives this type of actions may offer. This way, we may discuss the scope of the clauses as of that contained in the last paragraph of constitutional article 116.318 and thus, establish interpretations that sustain that the reduction of a Judicial Power’s budget necessarily implies an affectation to such clause.19
In general terms, the problems the judicial powers find for their financing are also a reflection of the lack of generalized conscience between the political actors of the country about the importance of the jurisdictional function. The main challenge of the judicial powers in this subject is creating the capacity to clearly transmit the importance of the jurisdictional function to political actors and society as a whole.
In order to conclude the comments about the external independence, we shall refer to the processes of designation of ministers of the Supreme Court of Justice and of the magistrates of the superior tribunals of justice of the country. The designation of these officers normally implies the participation of the other two powers.20 As we have said above, the reformist tendency has had impact on many judicial powers. It has been tried to reduce the influence of the president and governors in the designation of ministers and magistrates.21 This way, models are planned in which the Executive Power proposes a group of individuals and the Congress designates one of the members of it. However, there are other alternatives. This way, in the state of Mexico and Baja California the judicature councils play a fundamental role in the designation of magistrates. In the state of Guanajuato, the proposal of candidates is made by turns between the Judicial Power and the Executive Power, who submit groups of individuals to the Congress of the state. Other models decide not to modify the way of designation but the period to which the magistrates are designated. Consequently, instead of designating them for a period of three or six years, they are named for 15 years without possibility of being ratified. This is the case of Aguascalientes, Oaxaca and Zacatecas.
A first consequence of the reforms has been the strengthening of the role of the Congresses in the designation of magistrates and ministers. Also, sometimes they have acquired powers to designate counselors of the judicature. Given these circumstances, we shall ask about the way in which they have fulfilled such responsibilities. The balance does not seem to be especially good. In most cases the local congresses have not showed much sensitivity in the discussions for designating ministers and magistrates. More than responding to the nominees’ merits, the criteria that often orient the debate are related to partisan interests or to the negotiation of other aspects of the legislative agenda. The latter is also applicable in the case of the designation of the ministers of the Supreme Court of Justice and of the counselors of the federal judicature. In these cases, the Senate has shown to be not very transparent in the processes of designation.22
In the second place, it is necessary to ask for the characteristics of the individuals that are benefited with the Congresses’ designations. Contrary to the expectations generated, many congresses have decided to use the possibility of carrying out designations as an opportunity to negotiate positions between the parliamentary fractions. The outcome has caused many magistrates and counselors of the country to be individuals with clear partisan connections or with a reduced capacity to fulfill the tasks conferred to them.
In the third place, the models that show the possibility of ratifying magistrates in order to obtain immobility have showed plenty of limitations. In certain entities a tendency has pervaded in which the Congresses decide against the ratification in order to prevent the magistrates from becoming immovable. Under this premise, several jurisdictional officers have been forced to renounce the judicatures.
A general balance of the present situation shall necessarily recognize that the Executive Power’s weakening in the processes of designation of magistrates has not always brought favorable outcomes.
III. INTERNAL INDEPENDENCE
Internal independence is the establishment of a regime that guarantees that the judges can carry out their job without any interference of political or social actors or even of the Judicial Power. To a certain point, it is possible to sustain that most of the judicial powers in the country have paid few attention to the strengthening of their judges’ independence. The problems can be analyzed since different perspectives. From the perspective of the relationships within the institutions of justice, we shall acknowledge that in many judicial powers still predominates a subordination of the judges towards their superiors. This is not only a consequence of the authoritarian and clientelist structure that traditionally predominated within the judicial powers.23
It is also a consequence of the limited results that are still perceived in certain entities with the adoption of the judicial career. This way, issues such as the discipline of the jurisdictional officers or their temporary assignment±± are still treated with little transparency and in a discretional way. The use of informal mechanisms to discipline the jurisdictional officers is still quite common, despite that the institutions have institutional instruments to do it. A typical example of this is that it is often requested the judges’ renounce or their change of temporary assignment instead of starting a disciplinary procedure or one of responsibility in order to fire them. But even when it is decided to use the existent mechanisms, problems arise. In these cases, the judges and other jurisdictional officers typically have a limited capacity of defense.
On the other hand, many judges continue questioning the control and supervision mechanisms used in their judicial powers by considering them excessively formal and somehow superfluous. The visits are often specially inquired when they are not carried by people experienced with jurisdictional matters. The latter denotes the existence of important problems of specialization and efficiency in the control areas of the judicial powers. Generally, the mechanisms designed to supervise the work of the jurisdictional officers are still based on quantitative indicators. Even when this kind of indicators may be useful many times, it is necessary to recognize that their use also entails a lot of limitations. It is necessary to establish more complex exercises of evaluation of performance.
With respect to promotions and training the panorama is very diverse. Until a few years, the judicial powers formally had training areas but the effective operation capacity was inexistent or quite limited.24 Moreover, they had formally rules to incorporate mechanisms such as the opposition competitions° to promotions or to be part of the Judicial Power. However, many of these mechanisms were not employed either. At present several changes have occurred. In the case of training, a large number of judicial powers have institutes or schools that perform different activities. The first one is the Institute of the Federal Judicature, successfully establishing a group of scholars able not only to generate training courses and apply opposition examinations, but also to do research and publish high quality material.25 The second one is the Judicial School of the Superior Tribunal of Justice of the State of Mexico. In this case, the task has focused in the design of programs that incorporate a great variety of jurisdictional officers to the training activities. Moreover, the School carries out the competitions for the selection of the staff and its promotions in a quite successful way. In this sense, it is particularly outstanding the subscription of agreements with academic institutions in order to give courses to its personnel.26
From the point of view of the foreign relations of the judicial powers, the most important problem is possibly that regarding the judges’ strengthening before the public opinion in general and the press in particular. The increasing significance of the role of the judicial powers in the country has also produced a major presence of the judicatures in the mass media. The current cover the media make about the judicial powers is nothing compared to what it was ten years ago.27 But at the same time, this broader exposure has also brought problems to the judicial powers. On the one hand, the jurisdictional officers are not prepared to interact with the press and with the public as a whole. This is particularly visible when it comes to relevant cases. On the other hand, the notes made contain significant appreciation mistakes. In addition, it shall be recognized that sometimes the mass media are used as a mechanism to press the judges.28 The parallel trials of the press may mean a significant problem to the judges’ performance.29
A phenomenon that goes together with the gradual expansion of the presence of the judicial powers in the public life is the so-called "judicialization of politics".30 This way, the conflicts that had traditionally been solved through the usage of political instruments, now begin to find solution through legal channels.31 The novelty of these statements has taken the judges and the politicians by surprise. None seem to know exactly which are the rules that can orient this new relationship. This way, the politicians do not hesitate in trying to un-legitimize a Judicial Power when it produces an adverse resolution.32 But with respect to the judges, the perspective is not necessarily better. The judicial powers have not been sensitive in their entrance to the public arena.33 The official announcements they issue when they solve relevant cases are often full of technicalities and they do not make efforts to clarify their meaning.34
However, the fundamental theme regarding independence of the judges is to define how vulnerable they are towards the pressure of prosecuting attorneys’ offices°° or other political actors. It is particularly complicated to articulate an answer to this issue. Nonetheless, it should be considered that every policy oriented to strengthening the independence of the jurisdictional officers should necessarily include actions aimed to isolate them effectively of this type of pressure. In general terms, it must be acknowledged that much energy has been put in reinforcing the judges’ institutional independence, but the matter of their autonomy is still pending. The construction of a truly impartial Judicial Power forcefully requires actions in this matter.
IV. TRANSPARENCY AND ACCOUNTABILITY
With respect to transparency and accountability, the judicial powers of the country started this discussion since quite a short period of time. In general terms, it is possible to affirm that it is a matter that has not raised many debates, but that it still has not been appropriately treated.35 The Federal Judicial Power shows progress in this subject, although it has generally adopted to act very cautiously.36 Until this moment, there are few judicial powers in the federal entities with regulations of access to information.37 The state of Nuevo Leon introduced an open regime of access to information.38
Many discussions focus in how to access procedural information produced in the jurisdictional units. To this respect, there are certain positions that keep all the procedural information out of the public’s reach. The argument is that the information produced in the trials only concerns the parties and that its diffusion may cause important damage to the administration of justice.39 However, an important progress has been made in the subject. The Regulation for the application of the Federal Law of Transparency and Action to Public Governmental Information of the federal Judicial Power considers that, to begin with, all the information in hands of that Power is public. This new criterion represents a 180-degree shift in the judicial policy of access to information.
Another fundamental aspect regarding transparency is that related to the diffusion of institutional information. The discussion on the access to procedural information has kept the institutional information away from the focus of attention. There are problems such as the determination of the perceptions of the jurisdictional officers, as well as the information about the disciplinary processes against the judges and other officers of the administration of justice, among others. The criteria oriented to reserve the most delicate issues still prevail.
An issue that seems fundamental in this subject is that related to the definition of the information the judicial powers shall elaborate and publish in an official way. This issue is not only related to access to information itself, but it also has impact in how the operation of the judicial powers is monitored from an internal perspective. In few words, the main problem is that many judicial powers lack adequate systems of information to know how the jurisdictional units operate. But even when there are instruments to obtain this type of data, the quality of the information is not so good. Both judges and governmental organs have no certainty that the information contained in the reports truly reflect reality.
The treatment of the statistical information elaborated also raises some problems. In most cases, the information is aggregated. That is, there is no way to distinguish each of the data that compose the total of the numbers issued.40
An aspect related with transparency and accountability is the implementation of an integral policy of social communication. Normally, the judicial powers have decided to stand aside the society. This attitude creates an important distance that impedes an adequate strengthening of the institutions that administer justice. An example of this could be the relations with the press. Frequently, the presence of reporters is seen more like a threat than as an opportunity to inform the society about what is happening in the institution. Although there are very important examples of efforts on social communication,41 this area still needs significant progress.
Perhaps the main problem for the judicial powers is the challenge they face to institutionalize the changes at the interior. The issue is not simple. It is actually a cultural change in which the members of the Judicial Power become conscientious of the transcendence of issues such as the opposition competitions or the adequate operation of the judicial schools in order to prevent the changes in the government’s organs create drawbacks. In fact, in some judicial powers in the country there have been many modifications that have affected processes that have operated successfully in previous administrations. Maybe the area where this is more perceptible is in the judicial career. For this reason it is very important that in the processes of change all the personnel of the institution gets involved, so that they understand and value the transcendence of the transformations that are being experimented and that they have the ability to defend them.
In general terms, it shall be acknowledged that during the second half of the nineties, most of the judicial powers in the country showed significant progress in the consolidation of their independence. The case of the Judicial Power is particularly outstanding. However, some of these processes have stopped and others have showed drawbacks.
Regarding internal independence, the progress is more limited. Much work needs to be done to conclude the process of consolidation of the judicial career. This is particularly true in the access to the career and in the development of the judicial officers that have not still reached the category of judge. Regarding the control of the jurisdictional function and discipline, the number of changes has also been reduced. The judges are still submitted to a regime that privileges the informal means to impose punishments. This way, the temporary assignments‡ and the renounces are still frequent recourses to discipline judges.
On the other hand, not much attention has been paid to the consolidation of the image of the judge in society. This circumstance is particularly critical when considering that the judges’ role has transformed. The judges are still presented as very weak figures in the social scope. This weakness causes that other social or political actors can have more possibilities of success in their attempts to influence the judges’ will. In general terms, it is important to create actions to strengthen the presence and image of the country’s judicial powers.
Finally, the issue of transparency and access to information has been shown more as a challenge than as an opportunity to the judicial powers. The governmental organs of the judicial powers have taken time to react to the new transparency tendency. In this sense, the design of an integral policy of transparency and access to judicial information may be the starting point of a campaign to renew the judicial powers in society.
CONCHA, Hugo and CABALLERO, José Antonio, Diagnóstico sobre la administración de justicia en las entidades federativas, Mexico, UNAM, Instituto de Investigaciones Jurídicas, 2001.
COSSÍO DÍAZ, José Ramón, Jurisdicción federal y carrera judicial en México, Mexico, UNAM, Instituto de Investigaciones Jurídicas, 1996.
DAMASKA, Mirjan R., The Faces of Justice and State Authority. A Comparative Approach to the Legal Process, New Haven, Yale University Press, 1986.
GARAPÓN, Antoine, Juez y democracia, Spain, Flor del Viento Ediciones, 1997.
GUARNIERI, Carlo and PEDERZOLI, Patricia, Los jueces y la política. Poder Judicial y democracia, Madrid, Taurus, 1999.
PRILLMAN, William C., The Judiciary and Democratic Decay in Latin America. Declining Confidence in the Rule of Law, Wesport, Connecticut, Praeger, 2000.
SHAPIRO, Martin, Courts. A Comparative and Political Analysis, Chicago, IL., University of Chicago Press, 1986.
TATE, C. Neal and VALLINDER, Torbjörn, The Global Expansion of the Judicial Power, New York, New York University Press, 1995.
TORRES ESPINOSA, Eduardo, "El Poder Judicial en México y la nueva correlación de fuerzas entre los poderes públicos", Los poderes federales en la consolidación democrática de México, Naucalpan, Estado de México, edited by Gabriel Corona Armenta, FES Acatlán, Mexico.
* Translated by Ingrid Berlanga Vasile.
** Researcher at the Legal Research Institute.
1 Concha, Hugo and Caballero, José Antonio, Diagnóstico sobre la administración de justicia en las entidades federativas, Mexico, UNAM, Instituto de Investigaciones Jurídicas, 2001. Cossío Díaz, José Ramón, Jurisdicción federal y carrera judicial en México, Mexico, UNAM, Instituto de Investigaciones Jurídicas, 1996.
2 Recently, Héctor Fix-Fierro published a work that analyzes the impact of the judicial reform in Mexico. See Fix-Fierro, Héctor, "La reforma en México: entre la eficacia autoritaria y la incertidumbre democrática", in Pásara, Luis (comp.), En busca de una justicia distinta. Experiencias de reforma en América Latina, 2nd ed., Mexico, UNAM, Instituto de Investigaciones Jurídicas, 2004, pp. 249-287.
3 With respect to the judge’s impartiality, it is necessary —I shall recognize— that it is built taking into account the need to guarantee that the judge can solve the issues turned to him free from any internal and external pressures. However, we shall admit that when building their verdicts, the judges take into consideration many other factors that do make them neutral necessarily, as perhaps the judge’s ideology. As a consequence, a distinction between neutrality and impartiality shall be made. The latter is the object of independence.
4 See the constitutional controversy 101/2003.
± In Spanish "amparo" (summary proceeding which serves to guarantee constitutional rights). N. of the T.
5 "Aprueban sanción contra magistrados en BC", El Universal online, October 23, 2003, note of Rosa María Méndez Fierros.
6 "Ve Senado crisis política en Yucatán. Llaman a los Poderes Ejecutivo y Legislativo a acatar fallo del Judicial", Reforma Internet, October 12, 2003; "El Poder Judicial de Yucatán pide ayuda al Senado", Milenio Diario, March 26, 2004, note of Daniel Barquet and Angélica Mercado; "Instalan comisión para el proceso de juicio político contra magistrados", La Jornada, September 12, 2004, note of Luis Bonffil Gómez.
7 See constitutional controversies 101/2004 and 49/2004.
8 "Denuncia Salazar desvíos en el Tribunal", El Universal, January 4, 2001, note of Óscar Gutiérrez.
9 Until this moment, the judicial powers in the country have started more than 15 constitutional controversies.
10 It is the figure in which the term of designation of magistrates is six years, which coincide with the six-year period of the governor. This way, when a new governor reaches power, it is necessary to designate new magistrates or ratify the existing ones.
11 The arrival of a new government is typically a situation towards which the Judicial Power shows some tension.
12 This situation has also happened in the conformation of certain judicature councils where the criteria to choose the counselors are inspired more in friendships and partisan affiliations than in the skills of the designees.
13 Gudiño, José de Jesús, Ingeniería judicial, Mexico, Porrúa, 2004.
14 In a recent interview, the president of a tribunal expressed that the reduction of the Judicial Power’s budget was part of an exercise of the state’s governor to show his power.
15 The position of some judicial powers in the country regarding the budget is reflected in the following press notes: Anda, Francisco de, "Buscan elección abierta de jueces", Mural, July 4, 1908; Ramos, Mirna, "Solicitará el Poder Judicial más presupuesto al Congreso", El Norte, September 4, 1917.
16 To this respect I can mention two cases. The Judicial Power received significant rises since 1995, particularly, between 1995 and 1998. In the case of the Judicial Power of the state of Guanajuato that between 1998 and 2004 has annually received budget rises from 10 to 38%. See II and III Reports of activities of the Presidency of the Judicial Power of the State of Guanajuato, in http://www.poderjudicial-gto.gob.mx/index.php.
17 See constitutional controversy 5/2003.
18 "The magistrates and the judges shall receive an adequate and irrefutable remuneration, which could not be reduced during their charge".
19 If we take into account that most of the budget of the judicial powers is meant to pay personal services, we find that a reduction of the budget or a rise inferior to that of inflation may significantly affect the capacity of a Judicial Power to sustain the judges and magistrates’ salaries. Even in the case these are sustained, such decision would necessarily affect other aspects that are indispensable for the administration of justice such as infrastructure and equipment.
20 The participation of the executive and legislative powers in the designation of ministers and magistrates is frequently discussed. Within the judicial powers it is claimed that the intervention of other powers affects the Judicial Power’s independence. Consequently, the proposal is to incorporate such charges to the judicial career making sure that those who have the charge of minister or magistrate are officers with experience in the Judicial Power. However, this discussion does not take into account the political character of the function carried by the ministers and magistrates. The problems that may emerge after the integration of an excessively endogenous Judicial Power are taken into account either. In my opinion, the integration of the Supreme Court of Justice or of the plenos of the Superior Tribunals of Justice shall not only be made taken into consideration the officers of the Judicial Power, but it is also necessary to consider the possibility of incorporating individuals with both profiles. It is a theme that raises many discussions. About this topic the following works can be consulted: Cossío Díaz, José Ramón, Jurisdicción federal y carrera judicial en México, cit., note 1; Damaska, Mirjan R., The Faces of Justice and State Authority. A Comparative Approach to the Legal Process, New Haven, Yale University Press, 1986; Guarnieri, Carlo and Pederzoli, Patricia, Los jueces y la política. Poder Judicial y democracia, Madrid, Taurus, 1999; Shapiro, Martin, Courts. A Comparative and Political Analysis, Chicago, IL, University of Chicago Press, 1986.
21 Concha, Hugo and Caballero, José Antonio, Diagnóstico sobre la administración de justicia en las entidades federativas, cit., note 1.
22 The Senate’s attitude has been censored in several mass media. See for example, Granados Chapa, Miguel Ángel, "Senado vs. instituciones", Reforma, November 19, 2004.
23 Cossío, Díaz, Jurisdicción federal y carrera judicial en México, cit., note 1.
±± In Spanish "adscripción" (N. of the T.).
24 Concha, Hugo and Caballero, José Antonio, Diagnóstico sobre la administración de justicia en las entidades federativas, cit, note 1.
° In Spanish "concurso de oposición" (N. of the T.).
25 In this case we shall mention the significant restructuring of the Institute of the Federal Judicature at the beginning of 2004. Since these changes, a high percentage of the academic staff renounced the institution, including its director. It would be pitiful that a transformation like the one that occurred here put aside all the knowledge accumulated in the institution. Until this moment no further explanations about the changes have been given.
26 Examples of this case are various. There are judicial powers that have contacted the local universities to carry out these programs. In other cases, the services of the Institute of the Federal Judicature have been requested. In addition, the Legal Research Institute of the UNAM has taken part in some of the training programs in the country.
27 A daily revision of the press allows us to see that practically every web of the year has notes about the judicial powers in the first page. The monitoring of legal news presented in the website of the Legal Research Institute of the UNAM proves this statement. See www.juridicas.unam.mx.
28 Possibly the most famous case is that of judge Claudia Campuzano from the Federal District. This judge was seriously attacked by the mass media when she made decision in favor of an accused in a case that had transcended the media. Nowadays it is possible to see also the covering given to issues that involve the government of the Federal District.
29 Garapón, Antoine, Juez y democracia, España, Flor del Viento Ediciones, 1997.
30 Tate, C. Neal and Vallinder, Torbjörn, The Global Expansion of the Judicial Power, New York, New York University Press, 1995.
31 The clearest example of this is the problem of the controversy about the budget of outcomes of the federation. See constitutional controversy 109/2004.
32 The warrant of admission of controversy 109/2004 caused many deputies to declare it was necessary to begin a political trial against the Ministers of the Supreme Court of Justice who issued such verdict.
33 The theme of social communication is going to be approached in the following section.
34 An evident exception to this was how the Federal Judicature Council managed the verdict of Raúl Salinas de Gortari. During that time the press published articles with the content of the judicial determination.
°° In Spanish "procuradurías" (N. of the T.).
35 Some of the approaches on the situation of transparency and access to information in Mexico are made by: Caballero, José Antonio, "La regulación sobre acceso a la información en México. Algunos comentarios sobre el estado de la cuestión", in Caballero, José Antonio et al. (eds.), El acceso a la información judicial en México: una visión comparada, Mexico, UNAM, Instituto de Investigaciones Jurídicas, 2005; Carbonell, Miguel, "El acceso a la información del Poder Judicial Federal", Derecho Comparado de la Información, no. 4, 2004, pp. 189-198. Concha Cantú, Hugo, "El acceso a la información de los poderes judiciales", Transparentar al Estado: la experiencia mexicana de acceso a la información, edited by Concha Cantú, Hugo, López-Ayllón, Sergio and Tacher Epelstein, Lucy, Mexico, UNAM, Instituto de Investigaciones Jurídicas, 2004. Villanueva, Ernesto, "Derecho de acceso a la información en el Poder Judicial: una aproximación al caso mexicano desde la perspectiva comparada", Reforma Judicial. Revista Mexicana de Justicia, Mexico, no. 2, 2003, pp. 207-215.
36 Until a few time ago, the regulations to access jurisdictional information had many limitations.
37 The Judicial Power of the State of Sinaloa was a pioneer in this matter. Other judicial powers that have regulations on the matter are those of Guanajuato, Jalisco and Colima. In other cases, the state laws of access to information establish obligations for the judicial powers. Consult the legislations of Aguacalientes, Coahuila, Colima, Federal District, Durango, Estado de Mexico, Guanajuato, Jalisco, Michoacán, Morelos, Nuevo León, San Luis Potosí, Sinaloa, Tlaxcala, Veracruz and Zacatecas.
38 On this issue, reforms have been made to the codes of civil procedures and the criminal codes, as well as to the law of access to information.
39 An example of this can be the action of unconstitutionality started by the General Attorney’s Office against Nuevo León because of the introduction of norms that allow more access to information in the processes. See action of unconstitutionality 25/2004.
40 The issue is especially clear if we consider the example of the statistics of entries and exits of a jurisdictional unit. A voluntary jurisdiction of a contentious judgment is not the same.
41 Cases like Oaxaca and Tabasco where mass media are employed to diffuse activities of the Judicial Power are outstanding. There is also the program "Justice goes to school" of the Supreme Court of Justice.
‡ In Spanish "adscripciones" (N. of the T.).